The story behind the art: Sidney Nolan’s painting of Simpson + his donkey

The Australian War Memorial recently received a donation of a painting of Simpson and his donkey by none other than iconic artist Sidney Nolan. Here, Chris Wagner reveals the painting’s deeper connection to Gallipoli, a baroness volunteer nurse, and a decorated surgeon and photographer.  Quite literally, the story behind the recent donation of a Sidney Nolan painting, depicting Simpson … Read on

The WWI Victoria Cross winner turned war speaker

During World War I, some eminent returning servicemen were put to work as recruitment campaigners around Australia. In this excerpt from the Spring 2016 edition of Inside History, teacher and Rhys Cooper, University of Melbourne, looks at Victoria Cross winner Private William Jackson’s interesting experiences on the recruitment trail back at home. Search the National Archives’ online database … Read on

Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth – An Extract

Few battles of World War I epitomise the tragedy and futility of the Western Front more than Passchendaele, 1917. In this edited extract from his new book Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth, Paul Ham looks at how the wounded and stretcher bearers of the battle coped. The battles of August and September posed an unprecedented challenge to the stretcher parties: … Read on

The 1916 film The Battle of the Somme: Who is this mysterious hero?

It’s not often we get to see authentic footage from the First World War. Watch an excerpt of The Battle of the Somme, an iconic British film captured amidst the battle on the Western Front in 1916. Military expert Matt Lee, from the Imperial War Museums in Britain, explores one particular section of the film where a wounded soldier is … Read on

World War I at sea: An Australian witness to the Moldavia’s sinking

An Australian sapper in the Great War, HP Cornell kept a meticulous record of his wartime experiences in a war diary. Before he’d even reached the front, he witnessed and chronicled the dramatic sinking of the RMS Moldavia. Here, using snippets from this diary and other first-hand accounts, his grandson Larry Cornell revisits this tragic and lesser-known … Read on

Author Q&A: Bruce Scates on 100 personal stories of World War I

Amidst the fanfare of the Great War centenary, historian Bruce Scates and his co-authors Rebecca Wheatley and Laura James set out to investigate 100 personal stories from the war: reflecting the experiences of servicemen and women, as well as their families. Here, Bruce tells us about how they researched for their book World War One: A History in 100 … Read on

Spotlight on: The NMA’s online World War I portal, Remembering 1914-18

There are soldiers’ identity discs, war medals and postcards exchanged between soldiers and their loved ones back home. There’s a children’s board game called Trencho, inspired by trench warfare. A booklet commemorating the first Anzac Day in 1916. A nomad’s tribal dagger given to a war pilot after a crash-landing in the desert. You’ll find touching remnants … Read on

Our real baptism of fire?: Australia’s little-known WWI campaign in PNG

Just five weeks after the First World War was declared, Australian forces were involved in a skirmish in German New Guinea – one of our earliest episodes of the war – that remains relatively unknown today. Here, Greg Raffin, recipient of the 2005 Premier’s Military History Scholarship, shares the long-overlooked story.   On 11 September 1914, a small group of … Read on

World War I legacies :: Joan Beaumont talks to Inside History

One hundred years after World War I, myths and misconceptions linger. In issue 27, the current edition of Inside History, Joan Beaumont, historian and author of the award-winning book, Broken Nation, talks to Sarah Trevor about the legacy and lessons of the ‘war to end all wars’. The story of the Australian Imperial Forces, important though … Read on

Where to start? :: Finding your World War One ancestors

In this significant year, the centenary of the Gallipoli landing, many of us will begin to wonder if our ancestors were involved in the First World War. But how and where should you start your research? Penny Edwell from World War One Link has some helpful hints and tips on how to research your Great … Read on

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